Jan 26, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Mike Johnson calls rumored Senate border deal "dead on arrival"

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) makes a statement infront of the White House. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) is throwing cold water on the Senate's expected border deal, telling members that if rumors about the details are true it would be "dead on arrival" in the House.

Why it matters: Senators have been scrambling this week to keep a bipartisan border deal alive after months of high-level negotiations.

  • House Republicans are already balking — and turning their sights on impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

What he's saying: Johnson said a floor vote on impeaching Mayorkas will be held shortly after the Homeland Security Committee takes up articles of impeachment upon the House's return next week.

  • Johnson took shots at President Biden's border actions and the ongoing Senate negotiations.
  • "If rumors about the contents of the draft proposal are true, it would have be dead on arrival in the House anyway," the speaker wrote about the ongoing Senate negotiations.
  • Johnson once again held up the House's sweeping and harsh border bill, which passed with only Republican votes last year.
  • "Since the day I became Speaker, I have assured our Senate colleagues the House would not accept any counterproposal if it would not actually solve the problems that have been created by the administration's subversive policies," he wrote.

Between the lines: Even as Senate negotiators near final text on a border compromise, a path through the House remains incredibly murky.

  • Johnson has said he frequently discusses the border issue with former President Trump, who has made Biden's failure on the border a central part of his 2024 campaign.
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reportedly told senators in a Wednesday meeting on Ukraine funding and the border deal, "we don't want to do anything to undermine" Trump.

Johnson has long cast doubt on the Senate negotiations, demanding that policies included in the House GOP bill — referred to as H.R. 2 — be included in any compromise.

  • "I am emphasizing again today that House Republicans will vigorously oppose any policy proposal from the White House or Senate that would further incentivize illegal aliens to break our laws," Johnson wrote in the Friday letter.
  • He has also demanded more immediate action by the administration on the border.
  • "If President Biden wants us to believe he is serious about protecting our national sovereignty," the speaker said, "he needs to demonstrate his good faith by taking immediate actions to secure it."
Go deeper